Overwatch 2: release date, free-to-play and upcoming events
Posted by  badge Boss on Sep 28
Overwatch 2 – the new game and its new characters are almost here (pic: Blizzard)

has had 2 in the works for years and with its release date now closer than ever, one question still stands… is it worth the hype? 

Overwatch 2 will officially hit your screens in less than a week, bringing with it a variety of new additions, ranging from new maps and heroes to fresh game modes. 

Teasers have revealed some of the heroes joining the game, such as Kiriko and Junker Queen, but not much of Overwatch 2’s gameplay has been shown yet. This has left fans wondering whether Overwatch 2 will be that much different from the OG Overwatch, and if it really counts as a proper sequel.

If you’ve started losing interest in Overwatch over the years the release of Overwatch 2 should be just the thing to pull you back in – but what exactly is it all about?

What’s the release date for Overwatch 2? 

First things first, let’s see when you can start playing Overwatch 2. As confirmed by Blizzard, the official release date for Overwatch 2 is Tuesday, October 4.  

The time the update will become available to you depends on where in the world you are based, with Asia technically getting it a whole day late.

According to Blizzard, the dawn of the new era is at around 12pm PDT, so let’s see how that translates into different time zones across major regions: 

  • North America (ET): 3pm  
  • Europe (CEST and BST): 9pm and 8pm 
  • Asia (IST and CST): 12:30am and 3am (October 5) 

Keep in mind that these times are subject to change as we get closer to the release date, due to unforeseen circumstances such as errors or glitches. 

Like its predecessor, Overwatch 2 will be released on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC. 

Will Overwatch 2 be free? 

Besides new heroes and maps, Overwatch 2 is bringing with it a completely new era for the game. Blizzard has confirmed that Overwatch 2 will move to a free-to-play format, in what seems like a bid to attract even more players, now that games like Fortnite and Apex Legends have proven the concept works.

You don’t need to spend a single penny to actually play these popular battle royales, unless you choose to unlock the premium version of their battle passes – which usually doesn’t cost more than £10 – or splurge out on skins and other cosmetics. 

Overwatch 1 has always been a standard full price game, but even though it’s not a battle royale the base game is now going to be completely free. There is the Watchpoint pack though, that costs £34.99, if its contents take your fancy. 

The whole point of the Watchpoint pack is to give you a head start, by allowing you to unlock the following in-game content: 

  • Season One Premium Battle Pass 
  • 7 Legendary-tier skins (including 2 all-new Space Raider skins) 
  • 5 Epic tier skins 
  • 2000 Overwatch coins 
  • an Overwatch 2 player icon 
Kiriko will get her own legendary-tier skin titled Hinotori Kiriko (pic: Blizzard)

How to unlock Kiriko and future heroes in Overwatch 2  

There’s been a lot of debate over Blizzard gating Overwatch 2’s new heroes behind a battle pass, particularly support hero Kiriko. 

Blizzard confirmed Kiriko will be joining the game, after previously having revealed tank class hero Junker Queen, as well as damage hero Sojourn. However, there has been some confusion around whether Kiriko will be available for everyone to claim at launch, like Junker Queen and Sojourn. Well, the short answer is… no, she won’t be. 

In Season One, everyone who logs in to play will receive Junker Queen and Sojourn automatically, whether they’re new players or returning. This doesn’t apply to Kiriko, so if you want to unlock her at launch you’ll only be able to do so through buying the Premium Battle Pass or redeeming the Founder’s pack. 

You can redeem the Founder’s pack by logging into Overwatch 2 before the end of Season 2, but you’ll get access to it only if you already own the original Overwatch. 

Kiriko will be waiting for you on Level 55 of the free version of the Battle Pass (pic: Blizzard)

The other way to instantly access Kiriko – and future heroes – is through the Premium Battle Pass. You’ll be able to either purchase it for 1,000 Overwatch coins or get it through special bundles, such as the Watchpoint pack, along with other goodies. 

If you’re not in a hurry to unlock Kiriko and don’t want to spend any money, you’ll still be able to unlock her through the free Battle Pass version. The support hero sits at level 55 if you’re on the free track, meaning you’ll need to . 

The fact that Kiriko and other upcoming heroes will be gated behind a battle pass didn’t sit right with many fans of the game, as they feared it was encouraging pay-to-win mechanics.

Commercial lead Jon Spector added fuel to the fire, by saying that ‘hardcore’ players will be able to get the new heroes within the first few weeks, with some fans interpreting his statement to mean that casual players will have trouble unlocking them.

Blizzard has since eased players’ concerns by stating that those who start playing Overwatch 2 after the first season is complete will still have an opportunity to unlock Kiriko.  

What’s new in Overwatch 2? 

Apart from heroes Kiriko, Junker Queen, and Sojourn joining the action, Overwatch 2 will also deliver new maps, game modes, and gameplay features. 

Developers have promised fans more ‘complex’ maps than the ones you’ve seen in the original version of the game. You can now explore Rio de Janeiro, the home of support hero Lúcio, which will also feature his club Clube Sinestesia. 

Here are all the maps that will launch alongside Overwatch 2: 

  • Circuit Royal (Monte Carlo) 
  • Esperança (Portugal)  
  • Midtown (New York) 
  • New Queen Street (Toronto) 
  • Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)  
  • Rome (Italy) 

There was also speculation about a map based around Kraków, Poland, after one of the developers expressed interest in the location. Though so far nothing has been officially confirmed by Blizzard. 

The Rome map will feature the city’s biggest landmark, the Colosseum (pic: Blizzard)

New maps are only a small part of the wave of changes that are set to hit Overwatch 2, although it’s still unclear exactly what gameplay changes will be implemented. As we get closer to the game’s release, though it’s safe to say that at its core, Overwatch’s gameplay will remain largely unchanged. 

What we do know so far is that there will be a new Talents progression system, where you’ll get the chance to upgrade each hero’s abilities as they complete more and more co-op missions. Parts of the gameplay trailers also give you a hint as to how these co-op missions will function, with players coming together in teams to try and bring down waves of AI robots called Omnics.

An early look of the Talents progression system (pic: Blizzard)

Will Overwatch 2 PvE mode be available at launch?

The PvE mode will be exclusive to the sequel and looks to address fans’ complaints about the lack of any story mode in Overwatch – even though the game has extensive lore to support it. The story missions will be set after Overwatch was recalled by Winston but there’s not much more concrete information because it won’t be available until 2023.

However, in between then and now, you’ll get to experience some limited edition time events, such as the upcoming Halloween-themed event Junkenstein’s Revenge: Wrath of the Bride – loosely inspired by The Revenge of Frankenstein.

There will also be another new game mode called Push, for the competitive side of the game. While playing the Push mode, you’ll compete against another team to take control of a robot that needs to be pushed towards the opponent’s base. The robot will be conveniently placed in the middle of the map, which will also be symmetrical so there’s no advantage for either team. 

This is all in addition to the change that’s already divided fans, by switching competitive play from 6v6 teams to 5v5. What this means is that every match will now only have two damage, two support heroes, and only one tank. This move means that the tank hero will carry more responsibility on their shoulders, and you shouldn’t be surprised when existing tanks like Winston get even tankier – especially after the arrival of the game’s latest tank Junker Queen. 

What will happen to Overwatch 1? 

Since we’ve covered everything new that’s coming to Overwatch 2, the question about the fate of the original Overwatch still remains. Will you be able to play both? Or is it time to say your goodbyes? 

Well, it’s official… Overwatch, as you know it, will a few days ahead of the sequel’s launch. That means there are still a few days left to enjoy it, as Overwatch 1’s last day will be Sunday, October 2 (or October 3 due to different time zones). 

To transition to Overwatch 2, you’ll only need to follow the ‘Update the game to Overwatch 2’ option that will pop up on your PC or console once it’s out. Though if you’re a new player, things are much simpler, as you’ll only need to download Overwatch 2 from your platform’s store. 

Overwatch 2 launches for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC on October 4. 

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